Residents lament as army search for Niger Delta militants

militants

An anti-militant operation took place at the Delta community of Oporoza in the early hours of Saturday, May 28.

The invasion was an apparent reaction to the series of pipelines’ destruction by the new militant group called Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).

According to information by SaharaReporters, the operation resulted in the arrest of seven people in possession of guns, ammunition, and explosives.

Raphael Gbenekama, a resident of the area Gbaramatu kingdom, spoke with a reporter of PremiumTimes from a hideout, gave some insights on the Saturday’s military operation.

According to him, over seven gunboats brought armed soldiers to the community.

The military men were shooting sporadically and beating up residents. The local also claimed mass arrests took place in the settlement.

“As I speak with you, I am in the bush where I am taking refuge. The whole community have fled and those who could not run have been rounded up and arrested, but I can tell you that we do not habour criminals, our people are innocent.

Read also: Governor Fayose reacts to bombings by Niger Delta Avengers

“We have a vigilante group that we put in place to ensure that militants do not infiltrate our communities,” the resident said.

Gbenekama said the settlement had nothing to do with the militants. He urged the Buhari administration to call off the soldiers and focus on protecting civilians, instead of forcing them off their homes.

“I really cannot say their mission. We are a very peaceful community. They should leave us alone. We are not even talking of lack of development and lack of social amenities,” Gbenekama concluded.

Efforst to contact Isa Ado, a spokesperson for the joint military force in the Niger Delta, were unsuccessful at the time of publishing the present report.

Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, hails from the community invaded on May 28.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission declared him wanted on February 11 , 2016. The Nigerian authorities might also want to check his connection with the ‘avengers’.

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